What They Say:
Rin is helpless now in Kirei’s hands, while Shirou faces Archer. Is he skillful enough to defeat Archer?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The battle of ideals is on, or rather the battle between idealism and cynicism, pitting the Shirou of the present against the Shirou of the future. This conflict, central to the story of “Unlimited Blade Works” as it is, is taking quite a while, but fortunately it’s a lot more involved than just clashing projected weapons. The action is accented with the hardened philosophies the two fire at each other, essentially boiling down to Shirou determined to overcome the aspects that would turn him into Archer and Archer determined to end Shirou’s existence before he can realize the dream that would be a far worse fate than death. While pondering the validity of Archer’s words, as much as he doesn’t want to accept them, Shirou thinks back to the moment that inspired him to strive to be a hero of justice, a scene we’re all likely to be familiar with whether we saw it in Fate/Zero or just in this series. After living the life he did, becoming a Guardian, and then becoming a Heroic Spirit, all the while being more consumed by the mistakes he made and the injustices that made them so regrettable, Archer can’t look back upon a moment like this with the clarity or perspective that the current young Shirou does, but he does acknowledge Kiritsugu’s prominence in a less favorable light. As I mentioned for the previous episode, I think he has a lot of ground on which to stand in these matters, and while Archer is no less biased in the opposite direction, Shirou is still choosing to uphold his naïve goals from early childhood over truly evaluating the possibility that such a path is sure to lead to greater tragedy and despair.
We don’t get any conclusion in this episode, but we cover a lot of ground and really get to see how Shirou processes the salient points Archer had put forward last time. Ultimately it appears that he’s thoroughly convinced he can follow his dream without falling into the same pitfalls that ended up defining Archer’s existence and won’t be told otherwise, which isn’t necessarily the answer that seems most thoughtful, but there’s still at least one more episode of this battle of blades and philosophies, and with the title simply being “answer” in English, perhaps it will provide more of one than even… the last episode, which was parenthetically titled “The Answer” in the translation. This is what makes Unlimited Blade Works what it is, and it’s quite fascinating.
Speaking of episode titles and the defining moments of Unlimited Blade Works, this episode simply takes the name of the route as its title, appropriate given the focus on that storyline that no other episode may have to the same degree. To allow more time for content, the episode has no opening sequence, but the reveal of the series title “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” followed immediately by the episode title which, because of how this series has formatted its episode titles, also reads as “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” in English, all works out perfectly to set this up as the definitive episode of the Unlimited Blade Works storyline. While the opening theme is not present, the climactic moments of the episodes are set to a new insert song by opening singer Aimer, which goes even further to make it feel like a most important episode.
The conflict central to Unlimited Blade Works makes a great deal of progress in its titular episode, bringing forward aspects of the past and future for Shirou to work toward his decision. There’s still more before it concludes, but the presentation of this episode makes it a moving climax itself.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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